October 23, 2018 07:39

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Pharmaceutical tenders in 2018: Breaking the price point for brand-name drugs

07:47 | 14/01/2018

VCN- After the agreement of the Ministry of Health on the list of drugs to focus on national medicine, based on the demand of drug use of medical facilities, in quarter IV/2017,  Vietnam Social Insurance has approved the plan of selecting contractors and organizing bidding for selection of drug suppliers in 2018 for 5 active ingredients with a total value of more than 1,000 billion VND. Remarkably, in 2018, Vietnam Social Insurance will bid on national health materials to reduce unreasonable costs to benefit patients.

pharmaceutical tenders in 2018 breaking the price point for brand name drugs
Vietnam Social Insurance is also proposing to the Ministry of Health to further subdivide the drug classes to ensure that the drugs are delivered to true value. Source: Internet.

Savings more than VND 251 billion

According to Mr. Pham Luong Son, deputy general director of Vietnam Social Insurance, the total value of the first 20 drugs that won the bid was VND 935.99 billion, compared with the average bid price in 2017 for the country has decreased 21.15%. The approved plan has been reduced from 5 to 15% compared to the winning items in the provinces and cities in the previous 12 months.

Specifically, the total value of 20 winners announced was VND 935.99 billion, compared with the average bid price in 2017 across the country it has decreased 21.15%, equivalent to the amount of VND 251.13 billion. The original price dropped by 13.82%, the generic price by 33.81%, the price of generic drug by group 1 decreased from 27.3% to 42.8%.

To better understand the price of the bid, Mr. Duong Tuan Duc, Director of the Center for Health Insurance and Multi-Line Payment in the North, said that five bid prices have fallen from 8.8 to 14.6% over the average drug price in 2017, however, the positive result is that the winning bid of 3/5 active ingredient is lower than the price offered in the bidding plan.

Specifically, three active substances, Levofloxacin (500mg), Meropenem (500mg), Meropenem (1g) are priced lower than the drug price of 2017 of 8.8%-11.9%, but the winning price fell by 11.2%, 15% and 15%, respectively. Meanwhile, Ceftriaxone (1g) and cefoperazone + sulbactam (0.5g + 0.5g) had the winning price lower than the drug price of 2017, equivalent to the planned price of 14.6% and 9.8%.

"Remarkably, the average discount rate of the original 13.82% was a break from the previous view that generic prescriptions were exclusive and not discounted. When bidding, we are concerned about this, but the results show that for some active substances, the bid price has even fallen below the planned price. This is a very positive signal", Mr. Duc added.

The bidding process has ensured the law, transparency, fair competition and the selection of quality and reasonable price items. The successful bidder has committed to ensure the quality of medicine, ability to supply and schedule of drug supply to serve patients. The package has secured the two most important goals of drug supply. The first is to ensure enough medicine and timely for patients with the best quality of medicine. Secondly, price control, reasonable drug discount, correct delivery of drugs, ensuring harmony between parties and thoroughly for the benefit of the people and patients. Recently, Vietnam Social Insurance has also signed a framework agreement with contractors to ensure that medicines are provided to health facilities in a timely manner.

Will focus on medical supplies

The reduction of drug prices does not mean that the quality of drugs will be low, because in Circular 11 it has rightly divided drugs of one active substance into 5 different groups. Each group has a similar standard, it avoids the situation of domestic quality medicine with foreign price and vice versa. This also means that the subgroup has stratified to make sure that the group corresponding to that group corresponds to the price. Vietnam Social Insurance is also proposing to the Ministry of Health to further subdivide the drug classes to ensure that the drugs are delivered to true value.

In the future, Vietnam Social Insurance will expand the bidding list to include 9 active ingredients, 20 medicines, including 16 antibiotics, 2 diabetes drugs and 2 gastrointestinal drugs. "If it is on schedule, at least from 1st June, 2018, Vietnam Social Insurance will have to sell bidding documents for the next active substances", Mr. Son stressed.

Notably and recently, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue agreed to advocate for national procurement of medical supplies. Specifically, medical materials will organize national bidding with three criteria: use in large quantities, wide range, and big value. In particular, in the immediate future will bid for national artificial lens, artificial joints, and replacement materials in cardiovascular interventions and needles.

For example, the current range of vitreous injections is from 2.3 to 19 million VND; hip price is from 38 to 54 million VND, and the ring stent price from 16-200 million VND. Therefore, it is necessary to refocus the ceiling price to meet the technical requirements (this requirement is proposed by health experts, not by the Social Insurance). All are aimed at reducing unreasonable costs, benefiting patients, by the Health Insurance Fund and for health facilities themselves.

By Xuân Thảo/ Huu Tuc